Summer Art Institute

The Art Effect’s Summer Art Institute/SAI (including Junior Art Institute/JAI) is a summer art immersion program for youth ages 11-19 designed to help students develop ideas and build skills in the visual and digital arts. Students who’ve taken classes with The Art Institute can expect an intensive version of what they’ve experienced in the year-round Art Institute. Advanced classes give students a strong foundation for their visual art education and provides a sequence of techniques and chosen electives that advance student portfolios. We explore the depth of shape, color, line, texture, space and movement as well as the importance of both realism and conceptualism to help students develop scholarship-level portfolios.

This summer’s introductory and intermediate tracks take students with a love of art and minimal to no formal experience to the next level through the discovery of creative self expression while learning new skills in painting, 3-D sculptures, and mixed media. Projects intended for middle school youth ages 11-14 and beginner level high school students ages 14-19 are adaptable to the level and interest of each student through a “youth centered” teaching approach. Students explore the foundations of good art-making practices including composition, color relationships, camera fundamentals, illustration, line drawing, painting, lighting, character design, storyboards, photography, editing tools, and portraits.

Skills and Techniques

The artwork students produce in the most advanced majors exhibit principles of art, and personal conceptual themes that colleges seek in students applying for arts programs. The foundations majors help define students’ creative direction in preparation for more advanced visual arts instruction. Mediums and techniques may include:

  • Drawing with graphite, charcoal, pastels, pencils, ink
  • Painting with tempera, watercolor, acrylic, oil
  • Sculpture, clay, assemblage, cardboard, paper mache, styrofoam, mixed media, collage
  • Photography, videography, filmmaking, animation
  • Digital painting, media art, sound design, production, editing
  • Composition, color theory, color schemes, proportion, figurative, character design, figure drawing, self-portrait, still life,  landscape, balance, value, contrast, emphasis, movement, pattern, rhythm, unity, variety, form, texture
  • Portfolio development, professionalism, studio practice, critique, mentorship, career, vision

Summer Art Institute sessions may vary each year and typically include drawing and painting, digital art and illustration, and advanced art. The Art Institute also hosts several college visits and residencies when able throughout the summer for high school students in the program. College admissions representatives engage with our students, and families, talk with representatives, show their portfolio artwork, get feedback, and learn about the application process. 

The Institute provides one-on-one mentoring throughout the year to support students’ college applications and helps students secure merit-based scholarships to art schools and colleges. Our students have been awarded over $56 million in scholarships to the nation’s finest art schools across the nation. Learn more about the Art Institute here.

Become a member of The Art Effect to receive member pricing on camps and year-round arts courses. As a member, you will also receive invitations to exciting events like our annual gala – Art After Dark – and the PKX Reel Exposure International Teen Film and Photo Festival. More importantly, your membership helps us build a bright, creative future for youth in the Hudson Valley. Call 845.471.7477 or go online to join today!


Instructors are professional visual and media artists who mentor students through projects, encouraging students to build their skills while becoming well-rounded and diversified in the visual and digital arts. They include illustrators, photographers, and exhibiting visual artists. 

Arts Camps

Dutchess and Ulster Art Camps offer a variety of programs that allow children ages 5-10 to imagine, discover, create, and have fun each summer. Young artists explore fine art, digital media art, and performing arts while strengthening their self-confidence, creative thinking, and art making techniques both individually and in a collaborative setting.

Professional teaching artists work with campers in small groups, using the visual, media, and performing arts to foster self-expression and creativity. Young artists are immersed in colors, lines, shapes, textures, fabrics, clay, video, and sound.

Camp sessions are bursting with creative activities for young artists to explore. Campers experience a full day of art and activities including 2-D and 3-D sculptures, animation, photography, performance design, puppetry, free art making, and more.

Daily schedules include opening and closing circle, art instruction,  open studio time, snack, lunch, and outside play.  Accomplishments are celebrated at the final showcase, where each child’s family and friends are invited to see the performances, videos, and an art gallery of work that the children created that week.

Past guest artists and partners

  • Paper Heart Puppets
  • ZOI Productions
  • Dorsky Museum, SUNY New Paltz
video arts camps

Virtual Arts Camp Packages

In addition to in-person arts camps, The Art Effect’s Arts Camp Video Packages include ten video lessons designed specifically by experienced teaching artists for each age group. Videos include drawing & painting, mixed media collage, and puppetry, with special lessons on how to make your own clay and papier-mache! Click here for more information.

Become a member of The Art Effect to receive member pricing on camps and year-round arts courses. As a member, you will also receive invitations to exciting events like our annual gala – Art After Dark – and the Reel Exposure International Teen Film and Photo Festival. More importantly, your membership helps us build a bright, creative future for youth in the Hudson Valley. Call 845.471.7477 or go online, here to join today!

Media/Arts/Design Lab (MADLab)

madlab artists

The Art Effect’s Media, Art, and Design Lab (MADLab) engages teens ages 14-19 from the City of Poughkeepsie and helps them develop life and workforce skills in the growing arts and media sectors. Through four after-school sessions and one full-time summer session, MADLab youth earn a wage or stipend as they gain competency while learning about visual art, media art, and design careers. Through youth mentorship, on-the-job learning, and access to materials and equipment, MADLab fosters youth development, facilitates academic and workplace performance, and is a catalyst for community engagement and urban renewal in the City of Poughkeepsie.


Each MADLab session exposes students interested in visual art, creative placemaking, public art, media and design, and more to the creative workforce process by producing collaborative visual arts projects, and learning workplace skills such as time management, team work, leadership, and communication. The summer program has a special focus on public art and creative placemaking in which youth design and produce a public art installation in downtown Poughkeepsie.

  • graphic design
  • painting
  • sculpture
  • digital painting
  • photography (see also; Spark Studios)
  • public speaking
  • leadership
  • workplace etiquette
  • presenting and critiquing

Students work both independently and in teams on various creative prompts to get the most out of this “earn while you learn” mentorship program. Every semester students work on one client project to develop a professional creative portfolio including logo development, resume writing, and graphic design. MADLab youth who have developed advanced skills, are supported in connecting to outside jobs and internships with businesses and organizations to help provide additional early job experiences in our community.

Support MADLab youth and contact us to hire a student for your design project today!

Field Trips and Partners

The MADLab Program often takes hands-on learning on the road! Through the MADLab program, students work on various projects with and for many local community partners including visiting local galleries, museums and community organizations throughout the year. Trips include; Storm King Art Center, Art Omi, and Bard College. MADLab students have partnered with a number of community organizations including:

Teachers and Program Staff

David Wong is a graduate of the arts management program at SUNY Purchase with a degree in commercial art from SUNY Dutchess. David’s background in contemporary sculpture includes working in fine art institutions such as Dia: Beacon and Storm King Art Center. David has been an art department intern for both feature films and music videos, and his work as an educator specializes in creative placemaking. David began with The Art Effect’s as an intern in 2016 working for the 21st Century Project (later called The Empire Program). He has also worked with Spark Studios and ArtsBridge and has coordinated the MADLab program since 2018.

Programs provided by this agency are partially funded by monies received from Dutchess County, New York State Council on the Arts, in part by the Bailey Foundation, Community Foundations Hudson Valley, Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board (DCWIB), the City of Poughkeepsie, and from Adams Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee supporting The Art Effect’s exemplary programs.